I love to dine out and I love to try everything on the menu. Just ordering a single entree is boring to me. I like a little protein, some carbs and lots of veggies. So when I saw the menu of “small plates” at Santa Monica’s newly opened The Misfit, I thought this is probably the restaurant for me. The Misfit is the creation of LGO Hospitality, and is located in the historic Clock Tower Building just around the corner from the 3rd Street Promenade. There’s a sprawling bar that runs the length of the restaurant serving $9 signature cocktails that sounded amazing. I was unable to give one a try because it was only noon time after all, and I was driving, but I will return for their Happy Hour. The man behind the menu is Executive Chef Bruce Kalman, formerly of Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix.
I was dining with my friend Zonia, and we decided to throw caution to the wind, and just let it rip! We started with the French Dip Sliders, ($12) tender prime rib, perfectly seasoned, and served with a homemade au jus. It totally melts in your mouth and was the perfect size for two.
Our server suggested that we try the Ahi Tuna Burger ($11). I’ve ordered this in many other restaurants and it tends to come out dry and tasteless. Their’s is served pan seared medium rare with a Meyer lemon aioli and avocado. It was so juicy, cooked just right and full of flavor.
As we glanced around at the surrounding tables, we noticed everyone had ordered the shoestring fries ($6). I wasn’t leaving this place without them, and I’m glad I didn’t. These were addicting, crispy not greasy and yummy dipped in the honey mustard sauce. Plenty for a table of four!
However, for me the real hit of the day was the English & snap peas with toasted garlic and Thai basil ($6). As Chef Kalman told us, they purchase all their produce from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. The peas must have been picked that day. The dish is prepared so simply and the flavor and freshness of the peas shined through. I would return just for this dish.
I was awestruck at what Chef Kalman could do with vegetables. We ordered the heirloom cherry tomatoes with toasted garlic and herb salad ($6). Again, he allows the tomatoes to be the star of the dish. It’s simply dressed and the garlic and herbs are the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes.
For my vegetarian friends I would recommend the spicy chickpea dish ($9) because it’s killer. I could definitely see becoming a vegetarian if I could eat things like this all the time. The chickpea mixture has a real kick to it that you feel in the back of your throat. It’s served with kale leaves, and we composed our wraps with a dollop of chickpea, some cucumber and radish and dunked the whole thing in the pesto sauce.
When you’re serving fresh, high quality ingredients there’s no need to go crazy with sauces and spices. It’s evident that Chef Kalman respects his ingredients, as everything was seasoned with a delicate hand to simply enhance what was on the plate and not overpower it. Not everything though was a winner. Neither Zonia nor I enjoyed the sauteeed greens with blood orange and garlic chips. It happens.
It should also be noted that the service was warm and friendly and very efficient. We felt our business was appreciated. In the ever changing restaurant landscape of Los Angeles, I think The Misfit will do very well.
The Misfit Restaurant + Bar 225 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA